We’ve all been there, at least most of us women have. We get out of bed in a good mood and decide to weigh ourselves, we are hoping for good numbers, essentially lower than the previous day or at the very worst the same as the previous day. Instead the scale dispassionately informs us that we have gained a kilo in 24 hours.
We step off the scales in disgust and now our day is ruined. We wonder if we can spare an extra 30 minutes to add in a run today or maybe we will have to scrap that lunch meeting with friends we had scheduled. In effect, seeing those numbers set us on a rollercoaster of emotions, all negative. Constantly weighing yourself can be harmful if it starts to affect how you feel about yourself. It can lead to self sabotage or quitting from weight loss programs or diets because we feel demotivated and that our efforts have not been rewarded. One of the most overlooked facts is that even up to 8 weeks after starting a diet, the scales may fail to show significant drop in numbers so if you are expecting a massive change from day one or even day 10 of your new weight loss regime you may end up being very disappointed.
I decided to stop weighing myself obsessively a few years ago after I realised how much of a mind f*ck the scales were. This was an inanimate object that caused me so much distress and in the space of a few seconds could obliterate my mood totally. As a fitness trainer at the time, I was doing the exact thing that most of my clients were also doing, allowing the scales to dictate my self worth.
I realised the constant weighing had to stop as I did not want it taking over my life and with this realisation, I also knew I had to help my clients do the same and learn how to put less of a focus on the number on the scales and more focus on how they felt mentally, how their clothes fit, the improvement in their performance in the gym, the way they are now able to make better food choices or food swaps because all of these things were little wins which added together are all a sign of progress instead of just focusing on that one thing, the number on the scales.
So many women (and men) have a terrible relationship with the scales weighing themselves obsessively and letting their self worth and self esteem be tied in to whether they have managed to lose a kg/pound or not. Sadly, many women are bombarded daily with pictures in magazines and in the media of what an ideal body/figure should look like and their perception of what a normal body should be is perhaps skewed to a degree. The truth is that most of the bodies we ogle and admire have perhaps been photoshopped or altered in some way or have had cosmetic surgery. Even if that’s not the case, we have to remember that every single one of us is unique and our bodies don’t have to look the same. Our focus should be on our health and physical and mental wellbeing instead of aspiring to be a certain size.
It is fair to point out that the scales are not really the problem per se, it is how we feel about what we weigh that really causes the problem. Keeping track of your progress during a weight loss journey by checking your weight regularly is a good way of seeing how you are doing and knowing what works and what doesn’t. The problem is when the number on the scale starts to take over your life and affect your day to decisions and moods.
There are so many reasons why stepping on the scale can be harmful to your mental health and hamper your weight loss journey such as;
- Stepping on the scales is a trigger for most people. I remember the feeling I used to get before I stepped onto the scale. My stomach would have butterflies and I would get really anxious. This is not healthy for anyone and if you are experiencing these sorts of emotions then you need to take some time away from the scales and find other ways of measuring your progress
- As mentioned above, it may be useful to find other ways to measure your weight loss progress. Monitoring and tracking is an important part of a weight loss journey but it needs to be done in a way that amplifies all the hard work you are putting in not diminishing it. There are times when the scale alone is not a good reflection of all the work you’ve put in and other methods such as how clothes fit you may be more useful
- If you do want to weigh yourself, only do it once a week. Many women weight themselves daily and sadly this is not useful at all. There are so many reasons day to day why your weight will fluctuate such as retaining water, hormonal issues, stress, lack of sleep and so on, therefore weighing yourself daily is usually quite inaccurate and will usually result in you getting frustrated.
- Instead of being fixated on a specific number, focus on a range where you will be happy and make that your target. So ideally, I would love to be 65kg but I haven’t even come close to that number in many years. I have found my peace at a range between 68 and 74kg. It means anything within that number is fine and that makes it less stressful for me when I do weigh myself.
- If getting on the scale is starting to affect your mental health, I would suggest getting rid of your scales completely, At a point in my life, I did not weigh myself for 2 years and guess what? nothing happened, I was totally fine and in fact, I have to say I was much more happier about my weight and the way I looked during this period. If getting rid completely is a big ask, then you could put the scales away and decide not to weigh yourself for a period of time and see how you get on.
If you need help with your weight loss or have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email or message me through one of my social media channels